I have a problem, and it is this: When I walk into the library, I am sucked in by the “new” and/or “recommended” book shelf. It doesn’t matter how many books are currently in my “to-be-read” basket (currently 10, not counting audio books). I simply can’t stay away. I whip out my library card with the gusto of a shop-a-holic with a credit card. That’s how I ended up with Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius. My basket was full, but there it was on the shelf.
I enjoyed this book and found Martin’s story inspiring, though there were parts that were extremely sad. I even teared up a bit at the end, but those were good tears. One part in particular really spoke to me. Martin was noticing how little joy people seemed to be experiencing, and he wrote, ” I wondered if it was possible to get so used to joy that you stopped noticing it?” How true and how sad. There are hundreds of little things each day that could bring us joy if we just paused for a moment to notice them. How often do we scurry around and never notice the stars in the sky, the beautiful sunset, the smiles of our family members?
When I was a child, a friend of mine went to the movies a lot…and I mean A LOT…like every movie that was appropriately rated A LOT. Our family hardly ever went. I could probably list on less than 10 fingers the movies that I went to before I graduated from high school. I’d ask my friend, “Was it a good movie?” Her response was always something along the lines of “Eh.” Later, I’d see the movie when it finally made it to television (generally two years later), and I’d usually like it. And if I didn’t like it all that much, I could often come up with something positive to say about it…even if it was only one small thing. I could find joy in the one thing and that made the whole movie worthwhile for me. (As an adult I saw the movie Pulp Fiction, and let me tell you, the only thing that saved that movie was the fact that Bruce Willis was in it. But, hey, I found that one thing.)
So, find that one small thing or many small things that make you feel joy. Don’t take joy for granted or only notice it when something big happens. Stop rushing around and look up at the stars, watch the sunset or the sunrise (I only see about one of those a week as I’m not a morning person), find joy in the smile of someone you care about. Or don’t and grow to be a grouchy, old curmudgeon. (Interestingly, the definition of curmudgeon says, “old man.” Is there a female equivalent?) Your choice. Choose wisely.